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Consulting Our Community About Our Name

Consulting Our Community About Our Name

Posted on 05 Apr, 2019
Consulting Our Community About Our Name


Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is holding public consultations to understand the views of members and the wider community about our name.

Over the last year, the Board has worked on a new 3-year Strategic Plan, which was released in October 2018. Social Justice has been identified as a significant component of SGLMG focus, informing what we do and how we do it.

Along the way, we have received feedback from our members, community groups, event organisers, patrons and visitors about the name Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, questioning whether an alternative name would better reflect the diversity of our communities.

Changing a name with decades of community history behind it isn’t something we’d do lightly though – we want to hear from you! You can offer your thoughts and feedback by contacting us on reception@mardigrasarts.org.au, or by attending our Community Consultation (RSVP details below).

 

HOW?

At this stage, the consultation will include:

A focus group with Alumni and Community representatives
A public forum
An online consultation with SGLMG members and the wider community
Social media engagement for wider contribution
An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) where our members vote on a potential name change


COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

The Forum on 7th April will be moderated by a professional facilitator independent of the Board and staff.

The Forum is a safe space where respect for other people’s views is paramount. There will be no filming by the audience at the Forum to maintain privacy. SGLMG will record audio during the event for consultation’s review and archival purposes only.

At a high level the Agenda will include:

Introductions and purpose
Two 40 minute group discussions with a 10 minute interval. Roaming microphones available.
Key themes and ideas brought up by the consultation group to be captured and displayed at the end of discussions
Next steps and conclusion


At the end, attendees will have the option of suggesting a potential name via a suggestion box. This is not a vote but a way to collect your feedback.
 


ONLINE CONSULTATION

Based on feedback received from the consultation including the Forum, an online survey will be distributed by email to members and the wider community.

The survey will seek feedback on the most popular names, as well providing space for free text for other suggestions.

The survey will also provide another opportunity to say whether members support a name change or not.

The survey is expected to be open for about 2 weeks. Note: this survey is not a vote but feedback.
 


FEEDBACK REVIEW

The outcome of all consultation will identify whether members support a name change and, if so, what name is preferred over other options.

The Board will validate the suggestions against our values and the social justice objectives of our strategic Plan.
 


EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING (EGM)

If a name change is supported by members, required papers will be prepared for an EGM (expected in this financial year) presenting the Board’s proposal (informed by community consultation).

The papers will also summarise the background to the consultation, the outcomes and for/against arguments for the proposed resolution.

Online voting and proxies will be available for voting. 75% of members need to vote in favour of the resolution in order for it to pass.


FAQ - "What's In A Name?"
 

Why is this issue being raised again? Hasn’t it been done before?
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has had a varied history when it comes to our name:
  • Gay Mardi Gras first appeared in the 1979 poster
  • The name changed to Sydney Gay Mardi Gras in 1981
  • In 1988, the name changed, by EGM vote, to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
  • In 2002, New Mardi Gras was founded after SGLMG went into administration and a year later adopted the name Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
  • In 2011, the name changed to Sydney Mardi Gras but was reverted back to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras after members raised concerns about lack of consultation

Many gains have been made by our communities since our organisation’s inception. These gains have acted to support the ongoing growth and diversity of our communities.
In our Strategic Plan we made a commitment to listening to and incorporating feedback from our communities. This is why we are asking the question about our name and seeking guidance on a preferred outcome.
Hasn’t a new name already been decided?
No decision has been made about whether our name should be changed or if changed, what that name should be. The consultation is being approached in an open manner and the decision on a name change, if any, will be determined by the vote of members.
Isn’t this the start of the slippery slope to "alphabet soup"?
We appreciate that ever-expanding acronyms for our diverse communities present practical challenges, including the risk of still being exclusionary.
No recommendations are being made on the appropriateness or otherwise of replacing “gay and lesbian” with an expanded acronym. The consultation process is intended to allow members to indicate whether they favour such an approach or not.
Is this just about mainstreaming and sanitising Mardi Gras?
There is no external stakeholder driving this initiative. The consultation process has been driven by long-standing feedback from the community, supported by our Strategic Plan.
We work with selected partners and sponsors whose own support of diversity aligns with our values. There is no pressure to remove descriptors of our communities from our name.
We will never lose our commitment to honouring our history, telling the story of our communities and promoting social justice.
Is the name change being driven by the World Pride bid?
There is no request nor requirement to change our name for our World Pride bid. InterPride member organisations use a variety of terms to represent their communities in their name including “Rainbow”, “Diversity” and “Pride”.
Isn’t a name change demonstrating a lack of respect for 78ers and our history?
We work closely with 78ers and our elders are part of the consultation process.
We are committed to honouring the individuals who fought for the rights we have today. We continue to identify ways in which this commitment can be given effect.
Is the time and effort put into canvassing a name change worth it?
We are committed to representing and working for all members of our diverse communities. The question of a name change has been an item of regular comment from the community and is therefore a priority for us.
Throughout the consultation process, we will continue to work hard on our regular programs and other initiatives.
What happens if you can’t come to the Community Consultation?
There will be other opportunities to contribute to the discussion. A survey will be sent to members following the Forum.
Members can also contribute through email to: reception@mardigrasarts.org.au.
What happens after the consultation process?
The consultation will identify support or otherwise for a name change.
If members support a name change, an EGM of members will be called to vote on a new name. Online and proxy voting will be available.
A position paper will be distributed prior to the EGM.
What is the timeline for the whole process?
A proposed timeline will be presented at the consultation Forum and subsequently distributed to members.
 


HAVE YOUR SAY!

RSVP here for the Community Consultation

Arrivals 3:45pm for 4pm start on Sunday 7 April at Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street Darlinghurst.

Please make sure to attend and share your story, in a safe and respectful space. However, remember that only members will be able to vote at the EGM, due at the end of consultation. Click here for more details about joining Mardi Gras as a member.

Additionally, your feedback on email is very welcome. Email us at membership@mardigrasarts.org.au we will make sure your comments are read by the entire Mardi Gras team and Board.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and you’ll hear from us with updates every step of the way.